Do you really want to stay home with your kids? Do you feel like you could just never make it or make it and still live the way you want to? You guys have heard from my friend, Erin Odom before, and her advice is so practical I wanted to have her back again. Her heart is to help you learn how you can stay home with your kids, even if it seems like there is no way at all!
The year was 2008, and I desperately wanted to quit my job to stay home with my newborn daughter.
My own mother had left the workforce to be a full-time stay-at-home mom in the early 80s, when I was a toddler. I have no memories of her ever working outside the home.
I desired the same for my children.
But the birth of my firstborn coincided with the economic downturn of the 2000s. At the time, our family relied heavily on my income and the benefits my job provided.
When our daughter was just six weeks old, I had no other choice but to return to work full-time. I worked most of our daughter’s first year.
When my daughter was 13 months old, my husband and I decided to try to make it work for me to stay home with her full-time. We had made a cross country move, and he was now teaching full-time and no longer in seminary.
I won’t pretend that time was easy. In fact, my daughter’s first five years were the most economically difficult of our family’s life. During that time, we added two more daughters to our family, and there were many months were I simply looked at my bare pantry and near-empty refrigerator while we waited for my husband’s paycheck to arrive.
But it was during that time that I learned that, ultimately, God alone is the Great Provider of all of our needs.
My little girl turns 10 in June, and I’ve now been staying home with her and her three younger siblings for nine years.
In practical terms, how did we make me staying at home with our kids work? And how can you thrive as a stay-at-home mom too—even on a tight budget?
There are three key areas to consider:
Say goodbye to the Joneses.
For those of us who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, “keeping up with the Joneses” was a values system so ingrained in our culture that it is the default for many.
Instead of living within our means and practicing the discipline of contentment with what we have and how God had provided for us, we’ve depleted our savings accounts, dug ourselves into debt, and burdened our emotional and mental capacities with the stress that comes with keeping up with the Joneses.
If you want to stay home with your kids, you will inevitably have to make sacrifices. Keeping up with the Joneses might be one of them.
But I will tell you that contentment with a little will lead to great gain (I Timothy 6:6), and you won’t regret staying home with your kids.
If you struggle with overspending, you are not alone. I have good news: you can learn to better steward your money!
There are so many ways you can curb spending that don’t take much effort or energy. Drink water instead of sodas, use cloth napkins and dish towels instead of disposables, and eat out one fewer time per week. If you want make staying at home with your kids work, the goal is to live at or below your means. The truth is, you can usually live on a lot less money than you think.
Create more income.
Over the past several years, I’ve become passionate about teaching women how they can create more income from home.
I’ve witnessed firsthand what a complete life changer this has been for our family as I’ve been able to create a full-time income by blogging in the cracks of life while my children have been napping or sleeping at night.
No matters your gifts and skills set, I see so much potential for today’s stay-at-home mo to bring in more money for her family.
You might need to expand your definition from stay-at-home mom to work-at-home mom, but either way there is hope to achieve the dream of staying home with your kids.
Erin Odom is the author of More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated and the new book You Can Stay Home With Your Kids: 100 Tips, Tricks, and Ways to Make It Work on a Budget. She is wife to Will and mom to three spirited little redheaded girls and a sweet and spoiled redheaded boy. She blogs at thehumbledhomemaker.com.